Opinion from Lord Digby Jones

Brazil: an opportunity we must not ignore

Published Wednesday 17 November, 2010

I have just returned from a fascinating visit to Rio and Sao Paulo in what is now the 8th largest economy on Earth; Brazil.

UK Business is missing out on such an opportunity if we don't go take a look.

30 million Brazilians have been lifted into the economic middle-class in the last three years, all of them ready to spend their new found (earned!) disposable income on branded European goods and services as they (like human beings everywhere) show off to the neighbours about how well they're doing. Wouldn't it be great if they bought a Mini made in Oxford or a Freelander made in Liverpool, banked with HSBC or used Vodafone on their newly acquired mobile, and planned to send their children to a UK University which would welcome the fees!

Brazil already produces some 23% of all the exported food in the World and off-shore Rio (and 7000m down!) is another Saudi Arabia; 20% of the World's oil production awaits conversion into wealth for the 180 million people of the holders of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

If we in Britain, the World's great traders, the best engaged and most open major business nation on Earth, can't turn all that to commercial advantage we really should pack up and go home! 

We will only get ourselves out of our economic woes if we trade our way out. Earning profits from overseas markets to deliver new, sustainable jobs and generate vital taxation. Presently we sell more to Ireland than we do to Brazil, China and India combined! That must change... and change quickly! Brazil is a great opportunity in which British Business can make, in so many ways, not just a difference for a few but THE difference for everyone in a win-win that will mean we will all wonder why we weren't there decades ago!